Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Freddie Francis
Starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Roy Castle
Rated: UR/Region A/2:35/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Olive Films
Five men who board a train as strangers will soon find commonality when joined by a sixth passenger, the mysterious traveler known as Dr. Schreck (Peter Cushing). Watch as their destinies unfold in the chilling and “life”-altering horror-thrill ride, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors. To while away the time, the good doctor offers to read each passenger’s Tarot cards. The innocent parlor game has an unexpected conclusion as each reading unfolds on screen as a terrifying vignette (a werewolf on the loose; a vengeful creeping vine; a tale of voodoo; a disembodied hand coming to life; and a vampire story) the results of which are unpredictable and shocking.
When you get the winning combination of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing you are already winning before the opening credits even start to roll. However, this time around, you do get a solid movie that they work very well in, both with very memorable characters, especially Cushing. This is a movie that does everything right that you need to do for a horror anthology. We have a very interesting and clever wrap-around story. We have very good segments, one for each passenger that the good Doctor comes across on the trail, and we get a point to it all, as the film has a very solid ending. I find more times than not anthologies these days just want to toss shorts at you without much of a ryhme or a reason. This is a classic horror antholgy done right, as everything we see seems to have a purpose and it isn’t just a collection of short films that couldn’t find a home. This is a classic in about every way possible, with really the only negative one could find to say about it being that today the movie may appear a bit dated, even if the quality is still above most of what you see coming along in the horror genre. Stuff like that doesn’t hurt the movie a lot, but it does sort of get in the way a few times as we watch, even if nothing seems to be able to knock-down the great performance we see from the great Peter Cushing.
Our five stories here all have to do with one person on the train. The source comes from a series of tarot cards the doctor has. The stories go from voodoo to werewolves, a story of a hand, and some other cool stuff. While some are better than others, I won’t say any really outshine the rest much and as a whole the series of segments seem to blend very well into the other and make this a very stable and solid horror flick, with enough mood to keep you watching. Hopefully, late at night in the dark, because I really think that is where a movie like this seems to work the best. As far as how this one looks, I don’t think anyone will be unhappy at all with the transfer, it has a bit of a more natural and less bright look in spots than the foreign Blu-ray out there, but I’d still say this one looks more natural and better overall. I wish we could have gotten some form of extras on this one, but outside that being a bit of a bummer I don’t see anyone being unhappy with the HD transfer or the movie in general. This is a classic and it looks great. Olive films may not be giving us extras with titles like this, but they are at least making sure they don’t slack with the look of the movies.
Quality of Transfer: 87%